March 2017 in Review

April 1, 2017

Newsworthy

As I warned everyone in my February in Review post, March was a crazy month for me. I knew this would be very much “In like a Lion” and the month did not disappoint. A lot happened for work, personal, and bookish lives!

  • I spent a long weekend at home with my family, which was lovely. The craziest part was venue hunting for the wedding! I think we’re finally making progress… No one ever told me wedding planning was so stressful! (Expensive, yes, but never stressful) — It’s a HUGE point of anxiety in my life. #TooMuchInformation
  • While I still met my posting goal for the month, as well as hit some goals I had been slacking on in other places, I didn’t get much as reading or posting done. Why? Because I acquired a new WiiU and Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild!!! This game is gorgeous and addicting. I have been playing for hours and I feel like I’ve made minimal progress. So, instead of reading (or posting or sleeping) I’ve been running around Hyrule with Link. It’s totally worth it.
  • I GOT A NEW JOB! I still work for the same company, but I am transferring to a different department in mid-April. It means that some major projects need to be wrapped up on my old role, and it a lot of travel in my new role as well as a ton of new stuff to learn. But I’m super excited. Lots of opportunities can come from this new position. Plus, I am anticipating travel will be good for the blog life.
  • I expected my blog-hopping to slow down in March, and while it did some, it didn’t as much as I expected. There was about a week of drought but I feel I still stayed pretty on top of what you guys are doing. Nailed it! I STILL LOVE YOU ALL. My neglect is obviously only temporary. 🙂 I hope to get back in the saddle with daily blog hopping shortly.
  • I won Brendon’s They Who Were 8 board game giveaway on Reading and Gaming for Justice. I am SUPER excited! Winning giveaways makes me appreciate my blogger community so much. I know what is involved. Giveaways are hard work! Anywho, I recently found a love for turn-based card games, and I cannot wait it play with my friends.
  • FINALLY Lin @ Lins Perspective and I got our Souvenirs From Across the World boxes to each other! I cannot wait to post my unboxing. Lin will crush me in the photo department, but I am still excited for us to share our packages and the connection we’ve made across the globe.

March has been a whirlwind, but that is to be expected. As March is known for: “in like a Lion out like a Lamb”. That is certainly what happened in March. A ton happened in the first few weeks and boom: things are trickling back to normal as March wrapped up. I can dig that. I look forward to April and my new job!

 

List of Reads

March wasn’t a great reading (or blogging) month. I had all sorts of aspirations and goals. Alas. I did read more than I expected I would care of some long road trips and audiobooks, but all my book club books were literally being finished in the parking lot before we met. It was more stressful than I would have liked. I am hopeful that April shows a new leaf of blogging and reading.

March Books:

Read 10 total books

 

MUST READ this month:

The Fifth Season – It’s no secret that I adore N. K. Jemisin’s works.Her Inheritance trilogy just blew me away (Check out my review for her first book in that trilogy, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms), and I couldn’t wait to read more. The Fifth Season is the earth-science based sci-fi novel you didn’t realize you were missing. I adore the characters, their development, and their relationships. The writing is addicting and sometimes a bit confusing– but in a way where you realize a re-read will provide you a completely different experience than this read. If you are remotely interested in science fiction, read this book. But note: The final book in the trilogy doesn’t come out until August!

A Conjuring of Light – My Must Read book for February was A Gathering of Shadows, so it’s no surprise the the final book in the Shades of Magic trilogy is listed here as well. Schwab provided a wonderful conclusion to an engrossing series. I felt like all our characters got their due, I cried a ton, and I closed the book satisfied. Obviously, start this series with A Darker Shade of Magic, but read them all. This isn’t particularly dense fantasy, so even if you are on the fence about fantasy in general, check this series out. There’s magic and some world-hopping, but no Elves or Dwarves or excessive poetry/singing. 🙂

DANGER! Avoid this month:
That’s right. Nothing. While I did have one 2 star book, Magic Knight Rayearth is the first volume in a three-volume manga. I don’t think it’s fair to judge until I’ve read them all (which was my plan, but c’est la vie). I think that all the books I read this month have merits. If you aren’t into graphic novels, then I think it’s fair to avoid Zodiac Starforce and Magic Knight Rayearth. But if you’re prioritizing anything, read The Fifth Season and the Shades of Magic trilogy. They are all awesome books.

 

Challenge Updates

I’m making slow by steady progress on my yearly reading challenges. For the end of Quarter 1, things are going pretty well! I’m a little behind overall, but confident I can catch up my pacing by the end of June.

  • Overall Reading Challenge: 38/110 (34%)
  • Listopia Challenge: 3/15 (20%)
  • PopSugar Reading Challenge:12/52 (23%)
  • Read Harder Challenge: 5/24 (20%)

 

Tsundoku Life

It wouldn’t be tsundoku if I didn’t have a gigantic pile of books waiting for me!

As most of you know, tsundoku means the act of leaving a book unread after acquiring it, typically piled up together with other unread books on shelves, floors, or nightstandsIn my case, I get most of my books from the library. But, having 21 books checked out and waiting to be read can be overwhelming (even if it is down from the 31 I had last month!). I interpret my tsundoku as a combination of the physical books waiting to be read, but also the gigantic TBR I have listed. My goal? SHRINK THE TBR.

This month I did not acquire a single new book! That’s a huge deal considering my track record. I hope it’s more than just being busy and I can continue that trend. In February, my pile was 1,813 books. Now…

YES! Look at that number go down! A huge shout out to Laila @ Big Reading Life for a pro tip: Do a Goodreads TBR culling! I spent a few hours one weekend culling my list, and I feel way better for it. I didn’t go particularly deep in my culling but I hope to do another round this Spring. It was actually a really fun adventure peeling through some of the older books in my TBR. I am hoping to reach only three digits by the end of 2017, either through reading or culling.

I also have the honor of being the judge of a writing group’s writing competition this month. They have spent all quarter working on short stories, and I get to read and review them! I couldn’t be more excited. But also… super anxious. That’s a lot of pressure! I don’t want to shoot down any amateur’s dreams! What suggestions do you have for me in this experience?

April TBR:

  • Our Shared Shelf- Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
  • Kids Lit – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • West Side Stories – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • Brunch Books – Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  • VACB Book Club – A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Club: Short Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chaing
  • Popsugar Challenge – Eloise by Kay Thompson
  • Read Harder Challenge – Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
  • Listopia Challenge – When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Looking at this list, I feel a bit overwhelmed, but not as badly as looking at the March list. Quite a few of these will be quick reads, and I am looking forward to all of them!

2017 Goal Update:

  • Never have a backlog of more than 5 books which need to be reviewed:
    • <sigh> We’re at the end of the first quarter of the year, and I haven’t met this once. I am honestly considering taking a weekend and just hiding away somewhere to write reviews. I have 18 outstanding. I’m just downright embarrassed.
  • Spend 5 minutes a day blog hopping:
    • So, in the middle of the month, I took a week-long haitaus from blog hopping. Other than that, I’ve been pretty consistent. It’s hard to keep up with y’all! But, I am glad this goal exists to help me build the habit.
  • Expand the book discussion question database by at least one book a month:
  • Maintain posting twice a week:
    • This is the second goal I really struggled with this month. I didn’t get many posts in, but I thought about it frequently. However, I am hoping with my new role at work I will have more time to dedicate to blogging starting mid-April.
  • Participate in 5 cross-post style events:
    • GUYS. I need your help here! I feel totally lost. I wrote this goal with the intention of developing new blogger relationships, or deepening existing ones. But I’ve got nothing. Help!
  • Make the Thanksgiving Readathon with Ottavia a real thing!
    • This is something we’ll chat about closer to Thanksgiving. Probably early Q3.
  • Expand my non-book review posts:

There are a lot of changes coming up in my life, but I couldn’t be happier for them. It’s been great for me seeing the support from all my bookish friends, too. Thank you all for your support over a tough and fairly silent month. I look forward to engaging with you all more going forward! Bring on April!!!

Happy Reading,

Jackie B.

Jackie B Forman


What do you think?

  • Have you read any of the books I read this month? If so, what do you think? If not, are they on your TBR?
  • I’m looking for cross-posting opportunities. What ideas do you have to help me achieve this goal?
  • How do you handle being too busy for blogging? How do you decide what to share with your readers, what to keep, and what to let go?
  • What are you goals for April? How can I help you achieve them?

25 Comments

  • Captain's Quarters April 2, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Ahoy there matey! Loved this blog post and from me perspective, I am in awe at how much ye do on this blog. Just a shout out to say hello.
    x The Captain

    • Jackie B April 3, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Thanks, Captain! That means a lot to me. Particularly as this felt like a light month. It seems like everything depends on perspective.

      • Captain's Quarters April 3, 2017 at 12:24 pm

        Perspective is key. I get grumpy if I can’t read enough in a month. I don’t do memes or such – mostly it’s straight up reviews. So if there be less posts then usual I don’t like it.
        x The Captain

        • Jackie B April 3, 2017 at 2:06 pm

          Exactly. Memes and tags don’t fill me with as much joy as book reviews or discussion posts. But in the end, I just want to keep reading!

  • KrystiYAandWine April 2, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Wow! You’re making some tremendous progress on your reading goals! Good for you for doing the Read Harder challenge. I did that one a few years ago, and honestly wasn’t quite able to complete it. I need to do it again one of these years. You also read some great books this month!

    • Jackie B April 3, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Thanks, Krysti! The Read Harder Challenge is really tough this year; much tougher than the last two years, I think. There are some really obscure challenges I know I’ll struggle to make. I like doing these challenges because they push me to read outside my comfort zone. I have a few DNFs, but what matters is that I’ve tried. 🙂 Are you doing any reading challenges this year?

  • Adoptabookaus April 3, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    The conclusion to the Shades of Magic series was AMAZING I love that world and those character so much, ACOL was just non stop action for me. I hope you love SoC this month, it’s one of my fave duologies mainly for the characters 🙂
    Just reading your wrap up makes me feel busy so I can’t imagine how busy you feel! I’m glad all the planning going well though and your still able to keep up with blogging and reading. Hope you have an amazing April and love all the books on your tbr!

    • Jackie B April 4, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      I really loved the entire Shades of Magic trilogy. I think my favorite book might be the second one, strangely. I know that’s controversial. 😉 Ugh. I adore Alucard. He’s an amazing character! But, like you’ve mentioned, everyone seems to have very strong feelings about the Six of Crows cast. I cannot wait to start it! It’s next on my list. 🙂

      Thanks for all the kudos, Casey! That means a lot to me. It was a super busy month, and I’m looking forward to some downtime for blogging focus. Whew. Back in action.

  • Laila@BigReadingLife April 3, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I’ve read four books from your April TBR and they were all good! (Women Who Run, Goon Squad, Anne of Green Gables, and When You Reach Me.)

    Thanks for the shout out! I’m glad to have inspired a TBR culling. It feels so liberating! And if you change your mind about any of them you can always add them again!

    • Jackie B April 6, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad that you enjoyed all those books– that gives me hope. Particularly with Women Who Run with the Wolves. It seems a bit academic for me, and normally I wouldn’t pick it up, but I host a local chapter of Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf book club, so I feel like I need to try. 😉

      The culling felt GREAT. It also reminded me so soooo many books I’ve wanted to read for years. I’m hoping my TBR will drop into the 3-digit range, but I won’t hold my breath. Maybe aim for 1250 by the end of the year?

  • Diana April 4, 2017 at 4:07 am

    wow, so much went on in your life. I have always thought that planning a wedding is super fun although my focus has always been the wedding gown lo. All the best dear and I am glad that you have made some progress there. All the best!Congratulations on the new job.

    All the best this month. I hope that you will manage to reach some of your goals. Happy April!

    • Jackie B April 7, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      Yes– SO MUCH happened in March! Honestly, I’m pretty glad it’s over. O_o I’m wiped. This month I hope we conquer the DJ and photographer. My mom is coming to visit in May, and that’s when dress shopping begins. I’m excited! Thanks for all the well-wishes!

  • whatthelog April 4, 2017 at 5:49 am

    You’re doing amazingly! I have real trouble balancing blog/life priorities, and you seem to have that DOWN. And 10 books a month is incredible – I’m barely managing that atm.

    If you’d like, I’m always interested in guest bloggers – you could do an interview or a guest review, whatever you’d be interested in. 🙂

    Good luck with the wedding planning – it must be such an exciting time for you. 😀

    • Jackie B April 7, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      D’aw. Thank you! I felt a bit negligent with my blog in March, but I try to do a little each day, which keeps me sane. Sometimes, the want to blog or read is just overpowering, though! It helps that I don’t have a posting schedule, so I don’t feel bad if I miss a day here or there. 🙂 Well, I don’t feel *as* bad.

      Oh man! I’d love to guest post on your blog. Feel free to email me: jackieb at deathbytsundoku dot com, and we can chat opportunities. 🙂

  • Amber Elise @ Du Livre April 4, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Planning a wedding is 60% stress and 40% fun I swear. But shopping for everything is so much fun because you can see all of the potential!

    Great reading month! I really need to read The Fifth Season!

    • Jackie B April 6, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks for that advice! I’ll try to keep the wedding stress on the D/L, but you’re right. There is quite a bit of it!

      Oooh, I hope you do read The Fifth Season. It was really great. I can’t wait to hear what others think of it!

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom April 5, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Wedding planning is the worst/best time of your life lol By the day of the wedding, you won’t care what goes wrong (something will, it always does) because you will just be so glad the planning is all over lol

    Congrats on the new job! Sounds like an exciting change!

    Just added The Fifth Season to my TBR. I’ve been looking for sci-fi recs.

    As you know I’ve been reading ACOL since it released (still only 30-ish%)…. Basically I am stalling hard core because I’m nervous people are going to die….

    Can’t wait to see what you think of Six of Crows. I didn’t necessarily enjoy it as much as the rest of the WORLD did, but I did enjoy the characters and the heist plot line. It was a little slow to get going for me.

    Anne of GG has been on my TBR FOREVER. I’m pretty sure it was the first book I had on my TBR actually…. that’s how long I’ve been meaning to read it. After all these book festivals I’m prepping for, and of course my NetGalley hole, I am definitely going to get to my girl Anne lol

    • Jackie B April 6, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Well, that’s good wedding advice. I just want to get the major things taken care of, and I think I’ll feel a ton better. I really enjoy pondering, but I don’t enjoy the concrete planning. Oops.

      Oooh, I really hope you enjoy The Fifth Season. Yay for new sci-fi!

      I took a long time to get through ACOL as well– I was also very nervous. It was a nerve-wracking, for sure. It was really emotional for me. But once I hit around 50% I just couldn’t stop reading. You have been warned.

      I’m also excited for Six of Crows and Anne of Green Gables. They are very different books, and they have both been on my TBR for a while as well. Anne much longer, obviously. But I can relate to the NetGalley hole! Yikes. So many books, so little time.

  • theorangutanlibrarian April 6, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Wow wedding planning and a new job?! That’s amazing!! Congrats!! And it’s so awesome that you didn’t read anything less than 3* this month!!

    • Jackie B April 6, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Well, I *did* read one two star book, but I don’t think it’s fair to judge a single issue of a comic/manga alone. There’s only introductive materials in the first issue– the story will pick up later. That said, we’ll see how I handle it this month when I finish Magic Knight Rayearth. 🙂

      And thanks for the congrats! It’s been one heck of a month. I’m glad it’s over. 🙂

  • Jasmine April 7, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Wow Jackie! You certainly have so much going on in your life! Congrats on your new job and the giveaway win! Who’s wedding are you planning for? and yes, it’s too much to do for just one day haha… That’s awesome that you were able to read 10 books! That book: Crazy Rich Asians, I currently have it on my nightstand. I borrowed book 1 & 2 from the library to read so that I can read book 3 that was recently approved via NetGalley. Will you be continuing the series since you don’t seem to enjoy this book much?

    • Jackie B April 7, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      Haha. Thanks! I’m planning for my own wedding. 🙂 March 2018 is our current plan. So there is plenty of time. 🙂

      I’m glad that I’m not the only person who gets approved for the third book in a series! I did that with The Falconer trilogy. It was a bit of an accident, but I am glad it happened. I am really enjoying that trilogy. I will eventually read the next Crazy Rich Asians book. The book started to pick up for me towards the end, and I’ve heard great things about the audiobook. I have a weakness for quality narrators. 🙂 I look forward to seeing what you think, however! I wonder… are these books really all related to each other? I thought they just used the same characters, like Anna and the French Kiss. I am definitely interested to see what you think of them all!

  • bookwonderlandweb April 24, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    I’ve been wanting to pick up the Darker Shade of Magic series but haven’t gotten around to it. I have only heard amazing things and can’t wait to make my own interpretations on it. Great post!! 🙂

    • Jackie B April 24, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      It’s so good! If you are into fantasy or character development, you’ll certainly love it. I don’t want to overhype it for you, however. Take your time and get to it when you’re ready. Either way, I look forward to reading your own interpretations!

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